Farro seems to be one of the newer, trendy grains on the block, which pretty much just means it costs twice as much as it did last year. But I found a great deal on it and have been experimenting with this tasty little pantry filler that will remind you of pearled barley. It’s hearty, healthy and is good hot as a pasta substitute or cold, adding body and protein to any salad. Like brown rice and barley, it takes a while to cook, so I usually make a double or triple batch of it and try to get a few different meals out of it. If you have a pressure cooker or rice cooker, I would enlist its help here. This was meal number one and was delicious, especially on one of the first chilly autumn nights of the year. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
1 cup uncooked farro (makes about 3 1/2 cups prepared)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of sweet Italian turkey sausage (bulk or link)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1/2 cup green olives, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup water, dry white wine or unsalted chicken stock (whichever is handy to you)
8 cups of broccoli (about 2 medium fresh heads or 2 bags frozen), chopped
Salt, to taste
- Prepare the farro according to package directions, drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Warm the olive oil in a large skillet (that has a lid) or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add the sausage, fennel seeds and chili flakes to the oil and cook until sausage is no longer pink, stirring often to break up large clumps. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped green olives, garlic and black pepper, stirring until fragrant, about a minute or two.
- Next add the water (or wine or stock) to the pan along with the broccoli. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes, until the broccoli is cooked to a consistency you desire. I like it to have a little bite, which also ensures it doesn’t get too mushy when reheating it for lunch the next day.
- Stir, taste and add salt if necessary. I find the sausage and olives often have enough salt to season the dish, but that all depends on the brand and individual palates, so add more if you think it’s needed.
Serves 4-6 as an entree
Serves 6-8 as a side dish